The Unstoppable: The Healy and the Renda

I’ve always thought ice breakers were cool so I was delighted to see photos of the Healy hammering its way to Nome.  (I almost forgot to post about it; which would have been a shame.  Nothing is quite so literal about “unstoppability” as an ice breaker.)

Robert Peary could have used one of these!

On the other hand my boring rational uncool brain has two questions:

  • Am I the only one that thinks it’s odd that Nome has inadequate fuel to last a full season’s interruption?  I’m nowhere near as remote as Nome.  I’ve got reliable electricity.  I can have heating oil delivered at any time.  I can get my own fuel oil from everywhere on our nation’s excellent road system.  Even so I’ve stashed a mountain of firewood in the back yard which will outlast the winter.  I’m slowly building my firewood supply and fully intend to exceed a full year’s “excess” stored wood.  When a redneck in a farmhouse maintains redundant heat sources and a year’s backup supply wouldn’t that seem prudent for Nome?  I’d expect it to seem just natural for Nome to have the mother of all fuel stockpiles. I’d freak if I lived in the Arctic and didn’t have a ridiculously large fuel stockpile for my own house.  Is this supply chain complacency or did I miss something?
  • Did I just witness the U.S. coast guard dutifully assisting the delivery of Korean diesel?  To Alaska? Isn’t Alaska the state with the second highest oil production (after Texas)?  Don’t they have docks in Valdez?  Someone please tell me that we didn’t spend mega bucks of Federal funds to help deliver emergency oil from a foreign supply to a state which should be rolling in it.

None of this diminished my pleasure at seeing an ice breaker skillfully and professionally getting the job done.  Kudos also to the plucky Russian tanker Renda.  I know it’s just another day’s work for the sailors on both ships but I’m adding them to my unstoppable list because…ice breakers are just too cool.  Well done gentlemen!

Ht to Bayou Renaissance Man for reminding me of the story.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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3 Responses to The Unstoppable: The Healy and the Renda

  1. bluesun says:

    Keep in mind that it was a Russian tanker, to too.

  2. Kurt P says:

    They have oil but they don’t have refineries.

    And yeah, I’m surprised Nome doesn’t have some huge stockpile, or at least the foresight to order more when it’s about half gone.

  3. Bill says:

    They did order more in the summer, the company they contracted with didn’t deliver and by the time the process was restarted the weather closed in. Yes they could have done better, but It’s not all their lack of planning. Most of the oil that Alaska produces is actually shipped to Asia as it is not the type we mostly use in the states, so it might be Alaska oil returning. And last, Alaska has a couple three refineries, but production is mostly avgas. Very useful in a state with almost more aircraft than people.

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